Promise made, promise kept: MSU honors graduating Promise Program seniors with recognition ceremony

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Quantez D. Perkins, a senior biochemistry/pre-pharmacy major from Jackson, is among the graduating seniors who discussed the lifelong impact of Mississippi State’s Promise Program during a recent campus ceremony. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—From administrators and donors to faculty and staff members to family and friends, a wealth of supporters have come together to make a difference in the lives of students in Mississippi State’s Promise Program. Soon, 26 seniors from this special program will graduate with a well-earned college degree and desire to pay it forward.

At a recent ceremony on the Starkville campus, MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Promise Program Coordinator Alison Stamps congratulated the graduating seniors and those who made the President’s and Dean’s lists during the 2018-19 academic year.

“I know so many of our outstanding Promise students have had to overcome a lot of challenges just to be here on our campus, and we wanted this program to help them get here and have a great support base to help them from day one to graduation,” Keenum said. “I’m so proud of the success of the program.”

Christa King, a former instructor for MSU’s Program Program, receives a plaque for outstanding service and commitment from MSU President Mark E. Keenum during the program’s recent recognition ceremony. Though now working as project manager for the College of Education’s World Class Teaching Program, King continues to support Promise students in their academic journeys at MSU. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

The MSU Promise Program was established in 2006 to help students in economically challenging situations meet the cost of tuition and fees after financial aid. Supported by annual gifts and established endowments to fund awards in perpetuity, the initiative accepts tax-deductible donations of any amount that can help make an education possible for many more Bulldog students.

The university’s chief executive told current and graduating Promise students that the world is changing rapidly, but the values they’ve learned at MSU have prepared them for a successful future.

“I promise you, young Bulldogs, with your degree from this university and a commitment to living your life with integrity, working hard and being respectful of every human being you encounter, you will be a change agent for the positive.

“You will have an impact and make a difference in this world, and that’s what this journey is all about. You’ve got a great life ahead of you, and I wish you all the best going forward,” said Keenum, who presented an engraved cowbell to each graduating senior.

Keenum also expressed gratitude to Stamps and MSU Learning Center Director Clay Armstrong for their leadership in assisting Promise students throughout their academic careers.

Under the direction of Stamps, Promise students gain valuable study skills through participation in mandatory semester-long college success courses. In addition to academic counseling, tutoring and course-progress monitoring, the program provides personal development workshops and other opportunities to ensure students’ continued success throughout their MSU experience.

“We want to thank our donors and supporters who give to this program because knowing someone believes in their abilities pushes these students to succeed in hard times,” Stamps said. “It does make a difference, and we appreciate the support.”

Quantez D. Perkins, a senior biochemistry/pre-pharmacy major from Jackson, is among graduating seniors who discussed the Promise Program’s lifelong impact. He said the program gave him an improved knowledge of campus resources—the Career Center, Learning Center, Office of Student Financial Aid and the Writing Center—and taught him the importance of building rapport with professors. These and other skills, he said, will serve him well at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where he plans to attend pharmacy school.

“The Promise Program has been a monumental blessing, both financially and through the relationships that I’ve built. It really has shaped my world today,” he said. “I want to thank everyone with this program for my experience here at Mississippi State, especially the donors. I was surprised that people were willing to support me even though they didn’t know me. I’m proud to be graduating, and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Senior business information systems major Hardik S. “Harry” Meghat of Vicksburg spoke highly of the support he has received over the years from Stamps and Christa King, a former Promise Program instructor now serving as project manager for the College of Education’s World Class Teaching Program. King received a plaque in recognition of her outstanding service and commitment to the program, which has included teaching classes and organizing conferences that support student success.

“The Promise award has helped me stay on track all throughout college. It gave me a financial security and alleviated stress about how I was going to afford school, so I could stay on a consistent path to finish my degree,” Meghat said.

“It’s amazing to see all that you can accomplish with such support and financial relief,” he continued. “I was able to be involved in a lot of campus activities and make a lot of friends and connections, which landed me two internships with PACCAR. I’m very thankful for the Promise Program for giving me these opportunities.”

For more information on the MSU Promise Program, visit http://www.tlc.msstate.edu/programs/pssp and http://www.sfa.msstate.edu/promise or contact Stamps at 662-325-1384 or astamps@tlc.msstate.edu.

To support the Promise Program, contact Jack McCarty, MSU Foundation executive director of development, at 662-325-7000 or jmccarty@foundation.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.